The Smartest Guys in the Room?
So as we ended last week with the news that the 9.5% unemployment rate remains unchanged, we’re left to wonder if anyone in Washington actually understands the nature of the problem we’re dealing with. To be sure, there’s been a lot of thoughtful head scratching and beard stroking–with Fed head Ben Bernanke chief among the strokers–but I don’t think anybody bothered to inform our D.C. betters that looking like a college professor doesn’t make you an economic genius. In fact, they kind of remind me of that old commercial–you know the one that went, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV?” More and more, it seems like we’re in the hands of people like that: they may not have any answers, but they sure know how to spin.
What nailed it for me was hearing Bernanke talk about the “unusually uncertain” nature of the recovery. The uncertain part I could wrap my head around–but what’s up with this “unusual” stuff? He’s acting as if it’s a surprise that individuals and businesses are stuffing their heads back into the tortoise shell, hoarding their cash and waiting to see how this whole thing is going to shake out. Lemme see–with deficits piling up, massive tax hikes on the horizon, the as-yet unknown drag of Obamacare and the specter of Cap and Trade looming in the background, uncertainty is the new normal. What would really be unusual would be a couple of months when folks didn’t have to worry about what Washington might do next.
Why is that so hard for Bernanke to understand? You really have to wonder sometimes.